Coconut Cream Pie

As promised, here is my grandmother’s recipe for coconut cream pie. It is a variation of her chocolate cream pie, and it’s delicious. I know coconut is not for everyone, but I love it, and it’s a great summer flavor.

And should you want the chocolate version, just replace the coconut with a Hershey’s bar and add 3 Tbsp of cocoa to the flour mixture. 🙂

This recipe calls for a baked pie shell. You can either buy one from the freezer section (Marie Callender makes a good one) or make your own! I went the homemade route and used the following ingredients:

1 ½ c sifted all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ c shortening
4-5 Tbsp cold water

I cut the shortening in to my flour and salt using a pastry cutter and then added a tablespoon of water at a time until I had a soft, pliable dough. This one can be rolled out right away; I used parchment paper with flour, which made it easier to transfer to the pie pan.

The crust baked at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes and then set out to cool. Then I got to work on the filling! (My crust doesn’t look the prettiest here, but the filling will cover most of it, and it tastes delicious!)

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You want to prepare as much as you can ahead of time because once it starts to thicken, you have to move fast! I measured and combined the sugar, flour, and salt in a small bowl and set it aside. In another small bowl, I cracked the egg yolks and whisked it with water. The remaining ingredients sat close by and ready to incorporate! (The coconut and butter were measured out, and a teaspoon sat next to the vanilla.)

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I heated up my milk in a sauce pan over medium heat and then stirred in the flour mixture. Then I turned it up to high to bring it to a boil. It began to thicken pretty quickly, and then I added the egg yolks.

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Off the heat, I stirred in vanilla, butter, and coconut until it was combined. I poured it in my cooled pie shell and then immediately placed it in the fridge. Mine sat and cooled overnight, and I prepared the meringue topping the next day, close to when it would be eaten.

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For the meringue, I used my KitchenAid to beat the egg whites with salt and cream of tartar. Once soft peaks formed, I added the sugar gradually and left it on high until stiff peaks formed. (Meanwhile, I preheated the oven and removed the cooled pie from the fridge.) Then I spread the meringue onto the top of the pie with a spatula, created a little bit of texture, and baked it for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. After it came out of the oven, I let it sit on the counter until time to enjoy it! Yum!

Recipe for Coconut Cream Pie
From the kitchen of Leslie’s Grandma Johnie

Ingredients for Coconut Cream Pie:
1 ¼ c sugar
3 heaping Tbsp flour
¼ tsp salt
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp water
2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter
1 c coconut
1 baked 9-inch pie shell
Meringue or whipped topping

Ingredients for Meringue:
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar
6 Tbsp sugar

Directions for Coconut Cream Pie:
Mix sugar, flour, and salt together; set aside. Add water to egg yolks and beat slightly; set aside. Heat milk in a large sauce pan. Blend in sugar, flour, salt mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When mixture begins to thicken, add in egg yolks, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and blend in vanilla, butter, and coconut. Pour into a baked 9-inch pie shell. Cool in fridge. If using whipped topping, put on cooled pie and refrigerate. If using meringue, see below:

Directions for Meringue: Beat egg whites and salt with cream of tartar at high speed until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually, beating on high until meringue stands in stiff peaks. Spread over cooled pie filling and seal to edge. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes, until browned, and then let pie sit out until time to eat! (Prepare the meringue the day you plan to eat the pie. Leftovers can go in the fridge – the meringue just won’t look as pretty afterwards!)


Strawberry-Lemon Curd Tart

Can you believe it’s already August? Time has really been flying, and it has been entirely too long since my last post! I have been keeping busy with the little one and some sewing projects, including a baby quilt and a wipe and diaper holder for the car. I’m also always cooking or baking!

Last night I made a coconut cream pie from my grandmother’s cookbook, and wow, what a mess! The pie turned out great, but my kitchen needed a good cleaning afterwards. This is what happens when a naturally clumsy person decides to bake something late at night… Long story short, my whisk went flying, knocking a bowl of egg yolks and water onto the floor. I will probably be seeing yellow for the next month, despite my best mopping efforts.

I promise to share my coconut cream pie recipe a little later, but today I wanted to write about a different summery dessert that I recently baked. I won’t be posting its recipe on here due to copyrights, but I will give you my notes, should you invest in this cookbook and want to try this one day. 🙂

We have made some new friends with babies and enjoy getting out of the house and socializing. This weekend we were invited to a pool party, and I wanted to take a dessert. I pulled out my Bon Appetit Desserts cookbook and started thumbing through it for ideas. I’ve made the classic tart crust and custard in the past which is delicious, and I considered making it this weekend. However, the recipe on the next page for strawberry-lemon curd tart sounded fantastic.

And it did not disappoint!

There were a few things I would do differently next time to make the process smoother, but the flavors were on point. The lemon curd is tangy from the fresh lemon juice and zest, and the glazed strawberries make a sweet pairing for the lemon. The crust reminds me of shortbread and was a nice finish to the sweet and tart flavors. I wish I had taken more pictures as I assembled this tart, but it will just have to happen next time!

I began by creating the crust. I added flour, sugar, and salt to my food processor, as well as butter. (I cut my butter into little cubes so it would cut in to the mixture faster.) Then I pulsed the mixture until it became crumbly. I added two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and 1 egg yolk and continued pulsing until a dough formed. While the recipe said you could use more cream, I found that my dough did not need it.

I flattened my dough into a disk and then wrapped it in saran wrap and placed it in the fridge. It needs to chill for at least an hour, but I let mine sit there overnight.

Next, I worked on the lemon curd. I whisked my eggs, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Then I added the butter and lemon peel. I stirred until the butter was melted and curd had thickened. The recipe said 8 minutes, which I followed, but the mixture was thick after about 5.

Something I would try differently next time is melting the butter prior to stirring it in. I felt like the butter didn’t melt down smoothly enough even though I had cut it down into little pieces.

Once the curd was a pudding consistency, I poured it into a small bowl and placed some saran wrap right on the surface. Then it went into the fridge, next to my dough! (It needs to chill for at least two hours, but it can stay in the fridge for up to two days! Just note that it will be hard to spread into the crust once it stays overnight. Mine had to warm up a little since I assembled it the next day.)

The next morning, I took my dough out of the fridge and rolled it out. To make it easier to work with, I used parchment paper with flour. This way it wouldn’t get stuck to the counter. I also sprinkled some flour on top of the dough disk and placed parchment paper on top of it as well. It’s easier to roll, and the parchment paper keeps the flour contained = less mess! I transferred the rolled-out dough to my tart pan, cleaned up the sides, poked some holes in the dough with a fork, and then placed it back in the fridge to sit for an hour. Then it was time to bake it! Mine was ready after 18 minutes at 400 degrees. It was nicely golden and made the kitchen smell great! The crust is the only thing that needs to be baked, so once it’s cooled, the rest of the tart comes together quickly.

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I brought my curd out to warm up a little and then got to work cutting up strawberries. The recipe calls for whole strawberries, but I wanted the tart to be easy to cut, so I went with sliced. I used a spatula to spread the curd into the crust, and then I arranged strawberries on top of it.


Once they were all in place, I heated up ½ cup of strawberry preserves from a local orchard and then brushed the preserves on top of the strawberries to make a glaze. A ½ cup might be a good amount if you use full strawberries all over the tart; however, mine made way too much glaze, and I ended up dumping quite a bit down the kitchen sink. They just needed a light brushing to add a little more sweetness and keep the strawberries from browning. Then the tart was finished and went back into the fridge until time for the party! The recipe recommends it sits for at least an hour, but no more than 6. I did eat a leftover piece of tart for breakfast this morning (yes, breakfast…) and it definitely wasn’t as pretty as it was at the party. It still tasted just as good though!

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Bon Appetit Desserts, you win again! I have yet to find a dessert from this cookbook that I haven’t liked. If you’re interested in getting a new cookbook, this one is by far one of my favorites.



I was thumbing through my grandmother’s cookbook the other day and came across her recipe for Snickerdoodles. I tend to forget about this kind of cookie, and then once I make them, I’m reminded again of how good they are. I love cinnamon and sugar together! I’m going to a dinner tonight and thought it would be a good opportunity to whip up a half batch of this type of cookie. I may have already eaten three of them…oops! Maybe I should have made the full batch! Fortunately, they are in a container now instead of out on the cooling rack. No more cookies for me until later tonight!

These cookies are super easy and come together in no time! I began by measuring out my shortening in an adjustable measuring cup and then added the sugar and eggs. I creamed them in my Kitchenaid until it was a smooth consistency.

Then I took the remaining dry ingredients (minus the sugar and cinnamon) and sifted them before adding them to the creamed mixture. I used a tamis in a baking class a year ago and immediately bought one after the class to do all my sifting. A tamis is a French drum sieve, and it does a much better (and faster) job of sifting flour than the hand-crank kind. You simply lay down some parchment paper, throw your flour in the drum, and shake the drum over the parchment paper. Any large particles can be pressed through with your finger, so all the flour comes through finely.

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Once the dough was done I used my cookie scoop to scoop out balls that were all the same size. Then I made a cinnamon sugar mixture in a bowl and rolled each ball in the cinnamon sugar. I baked them in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees and then promptly moved them to a wire rack to cool. They crack a little on the top, but get nicely browned and taste delicious! I hope you like them too!

Recipe for Snickerdoodles
From Johnie’s Kitchen (my grandma!)

1 c shortening
1 ½ c sugar
2 eggs
2 ¾ c flour, sifted
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix together shortening, 1 ½ c sugar, and eggs. Sift flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix until well blended. Form into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll in mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. (These cookies puff up and then flatten out with soft and crinkled tops.) Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Celebrate! · Food

Death by Chocolate

My husband’s relatives are visiting from Brazil, and it’s his cousin’s birthday tomorrow! I love a good opportunity to bake, and a birthday is the perfect occasion! I decided on a chocolate cake and went with a recipe that is loved in our family. It uses boxed cake mix, so it’s simple, but the added in sour cream, pudding mix, and chocolate chips make it more moist, rich, and extremely delicious!

I baked two 9-inch round cakes and decided to put chocolate frosting and heath bar in between them. I pulsed heath bars in my food processor to make a fine powder for this. I wanted the flavor but not too much crunch in the middle of my cake. Then I frosted the entire cake in more chocolate and added heath bar to the top as well. I piped on a few dollops of frosting and then covered it up to sit overnight.

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I also made chocolate bark with heath and almonds and plan on putting some on the top of the cake tomorrow! I want to add some more texture to the cake with varying heights of bark.

To keep the chocolate theme going, I decided to try my hand at making a candy bouquet. I see them in stores all the time, and it didn’t seem too difficult. I bought some of the birthday boy’s favorite chocolate bars and taped them onto wooden dowels. Then I wrapped them in tissue paper and stuck them in a mason jar. I added some ribbon, glitter stars, and a birthday card and then it was done! Very quick to assemble, and I’m happy with how it turned out.

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Here’s to a fun birthday celebration tomorrow and most likely a chocolate induced coma!


Recipe for Rich Chocolate Cake

1 pkg (approx. 18.25 oz) dark chocolate cake mix
1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
½ c warm water
1/3 c vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 ½ c mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 10 or 12 c Bundt pan.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Increase speed to medium-high; mix 3 more minutes. Stir in chocolate chips by hand and then spoon into prepared pan.

Bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Cool completely. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

(Note: I usually use a Bundt pan, but for this cake, I used two 9-inch rounds. They took about 30 minutes to cook. Just test with a toothpick before removing.)



Pasta Carbonara

I wrote this post a week ago but I got busy and never posted it! So here it is – a yummy pasta dish packed with flavor:

This week my dad visited and we did a lot of projects around the house. He’s really good about finding new food places to try, and he wanted to try Andreoli’s Italian Grocer. It was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” and is known for its prosciutto. We decided to try it for lunch one day, so we packed a cooler in the car and headed towards Scottsdale. The food was great, and after eating, I bought a few things to take home: fresh prosciutto, farfalle noodles, and some Nutella butter cookies. I decided to use the noodles and some of the prosciutto to make dinner the next night, and I made one of our go-to recipes: pasta carbonara. I just replaced the pancetta with prosciutto, and it turned out great!

I began by dicing up my onion, while my dad sliced the prosciutto into small strips. Then I measured out the cheeses and black pepper and placed them in one prep bowl and cracked the egg yolks in another. Note: We made a half batch since only two of us were eating the pasta, and that is reflected in these photos. You also want to measure out and prepare as many ingredients ahead of time as possible because once the noodles are done, it all gets thrown together quickly!

I brought a large pot of water to boil and then got out my dutch oven to sauté the onions. I poured some olive oil in the dutch oven and set it to medium heat. I added my onions and cooked them until they appeared translucent. Meanwhile I added the noodles to the boiling water and set a timer for 13 minutes. If I’m using pancetta I add it to the onions and cook it for a few minutes, but since I decided to use prosciutto, I held off and just added my meat at the very end.

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Once the noodles were cooked, I scooped out some pasta water to save and then drained the rest. I added the noodles to the dutch oven with the onions and then added the cheeses, black pepper, egg yolks, and some of the reserved pasta water. I stirred it well and then tossed in the prosciutto!


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Recipe for Pasta Carbonara
From the Dallas Morning News

1 lb noodles
2 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz pancetta (sliced thinly and cut into strips)
2 c yellow onion, diced
1 c reserved pasta cooking water
¾ c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ c grated pecorino Romano cheese
4 egg yolks
1 ½ tsp black pepper


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and some salt and then cook until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta to the pan and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the diced onion and cook until the onion is soft and browned on the edges, about 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Add ½ cup of the pasta water to the pancetta-onion mixture, along with the drained pasta.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a large, warm bowl. Add the cheeses, egg yolks, pepper, and a few more tablespoons of the reserved cooking water. Toss with tongs to combine. (The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs.) If the sauce is too thick, thin with the remaining reserved pasta water, a little at a time. If it’s too thin, add more cheese! Garnish with additional pecorino Romano cheese. 😊


Chewy Chocolate Cinnamon Granola Bars

I love oats; they are hearty and make a filling breakfast. I tend to make overnight oats or have oatmeal for breakfast most mornings, but I love granola bars for a quick, on-the-go meal. While I do enjoy Nature Valley and Kind bars, it’s fun to make your own and know exactly what’s going into them. They still have sugar and butter in them, but they have very few ingredients and aren’t loaded with preservatives!

I adapted a recipe from Inspired Taste. These bars are extremely easy to make, and you can do any kind of toppings – the base is always the same. Chocolate and cinnamon are by far my favorite, but I’ve also made this recipe with dark chocolate, coconut, peanuts, and pecans, as well as chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Regardless of what toppings you choose, add a few chocolate chips, as they will help keep the bars together!

Begin by toasting the oats (and nuts if you want to add them). I preheat the oven to 350 and sprayed a pan with cooking spray. I spread the oats out on the sheet and then placed them in the oven for five minutes. Meanwhile, I prepared my pan. I lined a 9-inch square pan with foil and then sprayed it with PAM. After five minutes, I stirred the oats a little with a spatula and then returned them to the oven for three more minutes. Once the oats were done, I transferred them to a large bowl.

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In a saucepan, I melted butter. Then I added brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt. I mixed it well and then poured it over the oats!

I let the mixture sit and cool a little bit before adding in my chocolate and cinnamon chips. After they were incorporated, I patted the mixture down into the prepared pan. I used a spatula and then pressed it a little more firmly with my palm. Then I sprinkled on some more chocolate chips and placed the pan in the fridge to harden.

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After two hours, I removed the pan and peeled the foil off the granola bar block. I placed the whole block on a large cutting board and got out my butcher knife. You can probably use any sharp knife, but I wanted clean cuts, so I went with the big one! I like to cut the block into either 18 or 24 bars. They can be cut into 12, but these make sweet bars, and I like eating them in smaller pieces. It makes them last a little longer this way too. They don’t last long in our house!

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Recipe for Chewy Chocolate Cinnamon Granola Bars

2 ½ c rolled oats
¼ c unsalted butter
1/3 c honey
¼ c brown sugar, packed
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
¼ c mini chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top!
1/3 c cinnamon chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add oats to a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Stir and bake for another 3 minutes.

Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and spray generously with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt. Stir over medium heat until everything is melted and smooth.

Pour the oats into a large bowl and then pour the butter mixture in with the oats. Mix well and then let it sit and cool for 5 minutes. Add in the chocolate and cinnamon chips (they will melt quite a bit!). Transfer mixture to the prepared pan, and pat down with a spatula and your hands. Top with extra chocolate chips, and then move to the fridge.

Allow the bars to cool and harden for 2 hours. Remove from the fridge and move to a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, cut into bars! Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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Donut Day!

Happy Saturday! It’s been way too long since my last post. This next one is a yummy one though! Recently I had donuts on my mind. This was probably because I was doing a health and fitness challenge, so anything sugary was sounding great. One of my best friends came over for a baking day today, and she humored me by assisting in making donuts. We tried two different recipes that I found on Pinterest, strawberry cake donuts, followed by banana donuts with a chocolate glaze.

We started with the strawberry since these donuts could come out of the pan immediately, and I needed to use the same pan for both recipes. For this donut, we greased and floured the pan and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

I mixed the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt) in one bowl. In a second bowl, I whisked together the wet ingredients (buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs) and then added in the strawberries. I combined the bowls together and stirred the batter with a wooden spoon.

Using a large spoon, I scooped batter into the pan, filling each hole 2/3 full. They baked for 11 minutes, until a toothpick came out clean. I let them sit in the pan and cool for three minutes, and then I inverted the pan on a wire rack, to let the donuts continue to cool outside of the pan.

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While they cooled, we worked on the glaze. My friend chopped up strawberries, while I pulsed freeze dried strawberries to a powder in my food processor. We combined these two things with powdered sugar and then added a little bit of buttermilk to create a glaze. (The original recipe did not use any liquid – it said to let the strawberries rest and that the liquid from them would help create a glaze. I found that my mixture was slightly moist and mostly crumbly. It needed milk or water, so we used buttermilk since that was already on hand.)

I dipped the top half of each donut in the glaze and then placed them in the freezer (on parchment paper) for five minutes to set. Then I transferred them to a container, after trying one of course!

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Next, we moved on to the banana donuts. These were our favorite! It tastes like a very moist banana bread, and the chocolate glaze is delicious on it. I reset the oven to 350 degrees and sprayed PAM on my clean donut pan.

I began by mashing my bananas with a pastry cutter. I added sugar, an egg, vanilla, and vegetable oil and mixed these together well.

Meanwhile, my friend worked on the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, she combined flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. (The original recipe calls for nutmeg, which I am highly allergic to, so we left this out!)

We mixed the wet and dry ingredients together and then spooned the mixture into the donut pan. This recipe made six large donuts, and there was no batter left over. We baked the donuts for ten minutes, until a toothpick came out clean. Then the donuts sat and cooled in the pan.

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To create a glaze, I mixed powdered sugar, Karo corn syrup, vanilla, and cocoa powder. I used 3 Tbsp of water, as well as a little bit of milk to thin down the mixture. It was really thick and probably could have used a little more liquid, but I didn’t want it to get runny. Using a spatula, I spread the glaze onto each donut and then topped them with chocolate sprinkles! We immediately tried one, and it was delicious!

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Baked Strawberry Donuts
Adapted from the Kitchen of: Cooking Classy

2 Tbsp butter (room temp)
2 c flour
½ c sugar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ c buttermilk
¼ c + 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 c chopped strawberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a donut pan and sprinkle lightly with flour. (Shake off excess flour.)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs. Pour into the well and mix with a wooden spoon. Fold in strawberries. Spoon batter evenly into each well, and bake for 11-13 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, dip the top halves into strawberry glaze. Transfer to the freezer to set, about five minutes.

For the glaze:
3 c powdered sugar
½ c chopped strawberries
½ c freeze dried strawberries, crushed to a powder
Buttermilk (to thin down glaze – a Tbsp at a time)

In a mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar, strawberries, and powder. Add buttermilk, one Tbsp at a time, to create a glaze.


Banana Bread Donuts with Chocolate Glaze
From the Kitchen of: Something Swanky

2 bananas, mashed
3 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
¾ c flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk together the bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla, and vegetable oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, until a batter forms.

Pour the batter into a greased donut pan. Fill each cavity ¾ full. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool completely before removing from the pan. Top with chocolate glaze.

For the glaze:
1 ½ c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1-3 Tbsp water (for consistency)
¼ c + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder

Mix all ingredients together in a mixer, using the water to get the desired consistency. Use a spatula to spread on the donuts and then top with sprinkles!


Vanilla Peach Jam

It’s peach season here in Arizona! The little one and I went to an orchard and picked some peaches last week. We got a little carried away; they just looked and smelled so good! I didn’t want them to go to waste, so after giving some to family and eating quite a few, I decided to make some peach jam.

I made a small batch (jam uses a lot of peaches since it cooks down!), and it’s been a big hit. I have been putting some in my oatmeal most mornings! I’m also hoping to make some pancakes or waffles to eat with it soon before it runs out! Needless to say, I definitely plan on getting some more peaches this season to create some more, and I would like to try this recipe with strawberries as well.

This recipe only uses four ingredients: peaches, lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla bean paste! I began by peeling and dicing my peaches.

[Note: To make the peel come off easily, bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water and place it nearby. Boil each peach for 45 seconds, and then immediately place them in the cold water. The peel will loosen and practically fall off! If you cut the peel off, you run the risk of losing some of the yummy peach with the peel.]

After all my peaches were prepared, I placed them in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I then measured the other ingredients and added them to the peaches. I stirred the mixture together and then placed it on the stove to cook.

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I brought the mixture up to a boil briefly and then brought it back down to a simmer. The jam simmered for a little over an hour. During this time, the peaches turned a pretty golden orange color and the mixture began to thicken. Then I turned the stove off and moved my dutch oven off of the burner to cool. After a little while, I transferred the jam to baby food jars (we have a lot of these sitting around right now!) and moved them to the fridge to continue to cool and thicken. This jam turned out delicious and is quickly disappearing!

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Recipe for Vanilla Peach Jam

4 c peaches, peeled and diced
1/8 c lemon juice
1 c granulated sugar
½ Tbsp Nielsen Massey’s vanilla bean paste

Peel and dice all the peaches. Place the peaches, lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla bean paste in a dutch oven or other pot and stir all the ingredients together. Bring it up to a boil, and then down to a simmer. Let it sit for 1-1.5 hours and then take it off the heat to cool. Transfer to jars and then place in the fridge to further cool and thicken.


New York Style Pizza Dough

I LOVE pizza, but I can’t eat pizza dough anymore because I have gluten and yeast sensitivities. This means that I must get creative now when I want pizza – I’ve made crusts out of both ground chicken and cauliflower – but nothing can compare to this amazing dough. My parents gave me this recipe from a cooking class they took years ago, and we’ve all made it a lot over the years. I don’t make this dough very often anymore, but my husband’s birthday is tomorrow, so I decided to make him a personal barbecue chicken pizza for dinner.

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This pizza dough is simple and has very few ingredients. It’s best if you prepare it the day before (or have dough in the freezer that you can thaw out the night before). I began by measuring out my ingredients and putting them all in the mixer. I stirred them on the lowest setting until they were just combined. Then I turned the speed up one notch (still low) for four minutes. I let it rest for five minutes, and then turned the speed up to a level 4 (medium) for two minutes.

I placed several sheets of saran wrap down on the counter. Then I divided the dough into four balls and brushed them with olive oil. I wrapped them up and let them sit out on the counter for fifteen minutes, before placing them in the fridge.

Tomorrow I will add my toppings – bbq sauce, chicken, red onion, cheddar cheese, and cilantro! It will bake at 475 degrees for 12 minutes. 😊


Recipe for Pizza Dough
From Central Market Cooking School
(Makes 3-4 dough balls)

5 c bread flour
1 ½ Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp instant yeast
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 ¾ c room-temperature water

Put dough hook on mixer. Stir all ingredients together. Mix on low for 4 minutes, rest for 5 minutes, and then mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. (If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour; if it’s too dry, add more water.)

Divide into equal-sized pieces. Roll each one into a ball and brush with olive oil. Loosely wrap each one in saran wrap and then let them sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes. Then place in the fridge overnight! (For extra dough balls that you won’t be using, they freeze great! Put them in Ziploc baggies and move them to the fridge the day before you want to use them.)

Note: When time to make the pizza, remove a dough ball from the fridge 2 hours prior to cooking. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat it to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Work the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Use your knuckles to stretch the dough out and work your way around the circle, to stretch it evenly. If you have a pizza peel, place some corn meal down and then lay the dough out on top of it. Spread sauce over the dough and add on your toppings. Use the peel to transfer the pizza to the stone and cook for 12 minutes. When finished, use the peel to pull the pizza out of the oven. Enjoy!


Gluten-free, Dairy-free Veggie & Bacon Quiche

Happy Wednesday! Halfway to the weekend! This past Sunday was my first Mother’s Day to celebrate as a mom. It was very special, and we had family and close friends over after church for a big brunch. There were several sweets on the menu, so something a little savory was a must. This veggie and bacon quiche was a great addition and very popular; there was only one slice left over!

I apologize that I didn’t get more photos this time. This quiche didn’t get started until late in the evening, after baby girl went to bed! My mom also was in town, and she helped me in the kitchen, so a big thank you to her! This recipe uses a ½ cup of bacon, which needs to be cooked beforehand. We cooked the bacon in the oven following the directions on the back of the package and then placed it aside for later. (We chose to cook up all the bacon, and the leftovers were warmed and set out to enjoy the next day.)

The crust needs to be partially baked before it is filled, so start by making it first! There aren’t very many ingredients to it and it comes together quickly. Mix the flour and salt together first, before cutting in the shortening. I have a slight wheat sensitivity, so I use cup4cup in almost everything, to make it gluten-free. However, this recipe does not have to be gluten-free. All-purpose flour works just fine in its place. Note that the cup4cup flour will make the crust a little more crumbly to work with, but it tastes absolutely delicious! Once the shortening is incorporated, add in 1 Tbsp of water at a time until a nice dough forms.

Using a lightly floured surface, we rolled the dough out and then placed it in a pie pan. We poked several holes in it with a fork and then partially baked it for ten minutes at 350 degrees.

Then it was time to prepare the filling! I began by prepping my ingredients. I chopped the onion and bell pepper on one cutting board and the spinach on another one. I also measured out all my spices ahead of time and placed them in a pinch bowl so they would be quick to throw in when the time came. We cooked the onions and bell pepper over medium-high heat until the onions were translucent.

In a large bowl, I whisked together the eggs, almond milk, and spices. Then we added in the cooked onion and bell pepper, bacon, and spinach. It looked like a ton of vegetables in the bowl, but the spinach gets cooked down in the oven. The whole mixture was then poured into the partially baked crust, and I placed it in the oven for 45 minutes!

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This quiche turns out beautiful with all of its colors, and it’s very flavorful! It can be eaten five minutes after coming out of the oven, but we chose to eat it the next day, so it went into the fridge after it had cooled. We rewarmed it the next morning, and it tasted perfect!

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Gluten-free, Dairy-free Veggie & Bacon Quiche


For crust:
½ c vegan butter or shortening (Crisco)
½ tsp salt
1 c cup4cup flour
3-4 Tbsp ice water

For quiche:
1 pie crust
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 handfuls fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ c bacon (cooked and chopped)
6 eggs
¾ c unsweetened almond milk
3 Tbsp cup4cup flour (can use all-purpose flour instead but it won’t be g.f.)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp chipotle powder
1/8 tsp pepper


To make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine salt and flour in a bowl. Cut shortening into the mixture with a pastry cutter until it is well-combined. Add water and stir until it clings together in a ball. (Add additional water or flour as needed.) Lightly dust a surface with flour and roll the dough out as desired. Place in an ungreased pie pan and poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees and then set aside.

To make the quiche:
(Keep the oven set to 350 degrees.)

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Remove from heat.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, baking powder, and spices. Stir in the sautéed vegetables, fresh spinach, and bacon, and stir until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the partially-baked pie crust and cook for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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^a Mother’s Day gift – “Live, Love, Bake!”